Weddings at Trinity Church are celebrated for church members or their immediate families, those with past history as a member, or those who wish to become associated with the Episcopal Church (as evidenced by regular church attendance in the months before the wedding). On occasion, exceptions may be made at the discretion of the priest.
The church should be consulted before a wedding date is set to avoid scheduling conflicts and disappointment. Weddings normally are not scheduled during Lent (the forty days before Easter). At least one of the persons wishing to be married must be a baptized Christian.
In addition to the wedding day itself, the couple also needs to prepare for married life, understanding that Christian marriage is a solemn covenant between two people. Preparation takes place through a series of required pre-marital meetings with the officiating priest; the couple and the priest thus establish a relationship prior to the wedding day.
The Episcopal Church has specific rules (canons) regarding remarriage after divorce. A copy of the final divorce decree(s) must be given to the priest, who will send it to the Bishop with paperwork requesting permission for the wedding to take place. The officiating priest and the Bishop will want to ensure that children, if any, from previous marriage(s) are being cared for, and that the marriage has indeed ended.
Music at weddings should complement and enhance the event. Live instrumental or vocal music is welcome. Sacred music normally is used. The parish Music Director has the right of first refusal for all music that requires piano or organ accompaniment. It is recommended that he be contacted early in the planning process to determine his availability and fees.
The wedding service in the Episcopal Church is known for its use in the Church of England; it is similar to that used at royal weddings. Couples are encouraged to include the Eucharist (Holy Communion) as part of the service. Family and friends do not have to be Episcopalians to participate. They are encouraged to assist by reading the lessons or leading prayers.
Current church laws as well as the Prayer Book define marriage as between a man and a woman. When Iowa civil law changed to allow marriage of same-sex couples, the church and the state no longer stood in agreement. In its General Convention in July 2012, The Episcopal Church passed laws that permit a priest to bless civil unions. A document called “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant,” now is approved for trial use. The bishop’s permission is required to use this blessing. The Blessing liturgy has language very similar to that for a wedding, and may be adapted. A conversation with the priest is the best way to learn more about blessings in the Episcopal Church. We welcome your questions.